Parent Participation
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Parent Participation. References. Welsh Assembly Government (2006) “ Practice Guide for Children and Young People’s Partnerships ”, DELLS Information Document No: 019-06, September 2006

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  • Welsh Assembly Government (2006) “Practice Guide for Children and Young People’s Partnerships”, DELLS Information Document No: 019-06, September 2006

  • Family Policy Alliance (2005) “Parent Participation: Improving Services for Children and Families”, Parentline Plus


  • Definition: anyone who plays a significant role in bringing up a child

  • WAG adopted UNCRC – 7 core aims

  • UNCRC - Parents have primary responsibility; Family given necessary assistance and support

  • Policy drivers: Making the Connections, Children and Young People’s NSF, Parenting Action Plan

Why Parent Participation?

  • Improve the quality of life of children and their families

  • Parents are biggest single influence on children

  • Can identify local issues, facilities

  • Services will may be more relevant, responsive and better used

  • Increased trust in services

  • Parents may become volunteers, peer educators, mentors

A model for Parent Participation

Wilcox – 5 levels of participation

  • Information – telling parents what is planned

  • Consultation -offering options

  • Deciding together – encouraging new options

  • Acting together – deciding together on best option

  • Supporting independent action – support to develop own agenda

Understanding the Barriers - Parents

  • Demands on time

  • Feel alienated from a service

  • May not use any service so are “out of the loop”

  • Wary of meetings/form filling – literacy, jargon, gender issues, trust

  • Practical issues – transport, access

  • May not feel contribution valued

  • Need support to contribute

Understanding the Barriers Professionals

  • Demands on time

  • Previous unsuccessful efforts

  • Constant need to engage

  • Geographical spread of families

  • Training/experience

  • Fear of parents’ ‘wish-lists’


  • Information about local services; about children’s needs and parenting and about planned developments

  • Systems that ensure information reaches as many parents as possible

  • Take into account the different ways people are able to access it

  • Parents can help produce user-friendly information

  • Variety of ways of sharing information


  • What can parents influence? – consultation or deciding together?

  • Use a range of methods of consulting

  • Make sure minority groups have their views taken into account

  • Provide feedback to parents


  • Leaflets, newsletters, displays – go to where people are; include a leaflet in the local paper; ask the paper to write an article and invite comments

  • Surveys , meetings – door to door; set up focus groups; questionnaire with freepost reply envelope

  • Working groups/forums – set up user forums; hold workshops/events

  • Consider venue –“Ensuring Inclusion” (good practice checklist)

  • List of methods, including advantages and disadvantages @


  • Consider getting expert help to design questionnaire

  • Make sure questions are easy to understand

  • Avoid leading questions/phrase in neutral terms

  • Pilot the question design

  • Have some open questions

  • Accessibility

  • Covering letter

  • Consider anonymity

  • Consider language (

Make meetings work for parents
Make meetings work for parents

  • Ensure meetings held at convenient times

  • Preparation

  • Help parents contribute

  • Keep paperwork short and simple“The minutes were like double Dutch to me – it was all jargon and abbreviations”

  • Ensure parents have a chance to speak, but without putting them on the spot

Equality and Diversity

  • Fathers and male carers – activity rather than discussion; explicit in wanting involvement of fathers; male friendly images and language

  • Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) parents – outreach, BME projects or groups, consider language and culture issues

  • Parents of disabled children – Contact a Family, Council for Disabled Children (2004) “Parent Participation, improving services for disabled children”

Further information
Further Information

  • Lucy Akhtar, Development Officer for ParentingEmail: [email protected]

  • Tony Ivens, Fatherhood Development Officer,Email: [email protected]

    Children in Wales, Tel: 029 20 342434